Church Organization



Under the “The Restoration of Truth – Jesus Christ established His Church” section of we read:

“A few hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ, people had fallen into apostasy. When the Savior began His mortal ministry, He restored His gospel and established His Church again on the earth. He built His Church upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, He himself being the chief cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20)In addition to the Twelve Apostles, Christ appointed other leaders to assist the Apostles in the work of His Church. These included: Seventies (missionaries), Evangelists (patriarchs), Pastors (presiding leaders), Elders, Bishops, Priests, Teachers, Deacons.”


6 Reasons the Mormon Church’s structure is not like the early Christian church

  • The Mormon Church’s organizational structure is not identical to the organizational structure of the early church that Jesus Christ established. There are several reasons for this.
1. There were more than 12 Apostles in the early church. While Mormons are familiar with the 12 disciples Jesus appointed as His “apostles” at Luke 6:13, they fail to note that 8 additional men were appointed as “apostles” in the early church. These were:
  • Matthias (Acts 1:26) replacing Judas
  • Barnabas (Acts 14:14)
  • Andronicus (Romans 16:7)
  • Junia (Romans 16:7)
  • James, the brother of Jesus (Galatians 1:19)
  • Silvanus (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:6)
  • Timothy (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2:6)
  • Paul (Romans 11:13; 1 Corinthians 15:8-10)

Thus, the early church had at least 19 Apostles, and not strictly 12 Apostles as the Mormon Church possesses today.

2. Once a foundation is built, it no longer needs to be rebuilt. Ephesians 2:20 states that the church (household of God) is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” Since the writings of the “foundation” provided by the prophets and apostles of the Old and New Testaments are compiled in the Biblical Scripture we possess today, there is no need to reestablish this “foundation” through “new revelation” under a new set of foundational “Prophets and Apostles” for the Christian Church today. As we already noted, when the official position of “Prophet” under the Old Testament ended with John the Baptist (Luke 16:16), the role transferred to Jesus Christ as the supreme Prophet of God’s people (Hebrews 1:1-2).
3. The LDS Church’s organizational structure is backward when it places Prophets over Apostles. God set Apostles to be first in the Church OVER Prophets. While Jesus Christ fulfills the role as Supreme Prophet of the Church today, God gave the early church men who were called “prophets” because they gave revelation to specific individuals and congregations within the church and expounded upon the truths in Scripture just as pastors do today when they preach the Word of God. Unlike the Mormon Church’s Prophet whose teachings are not to be criticized, the prophets of the early church were critiqued by fellow prophets and apostles. This is why Paul commanded the believers in Corinth:

“Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”—1 Corinthians 14:29-32

Because the test of a prophet requires 100% accuracy in prophetic utterances (Deuteronomy 18:20-22) and doctrine compatible to the written text of Scripture (Isaiah 8:20), God appointed “apostles” like Paul (who served as a church planting missionary), to oversee the prophets serving in the churches he founded:

“…God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” —1 Corinthians 12:28

4. The position of “Seventy” did not exist in the early church. The only place in the New Testament where the term “seventy” appears is at Luke 10:1, 17 where the Lord Jesus sent out “seventy” men to prepare the way for Him to speak in the towns and villages. They acted as missionaries do today in preaching the Gospel. Nowhere else in the New Testament does the term “Seventy” appear. Thus, the term speaks only of the number of men Jesus sent out and does not speak of an official position Jesus established in His Church.
5. The office of “Priests” did not exist in the early church. While the Bible speaks of the “Priesthood” of all believers at 1 Peter 2:5 and 9 that is possessed by all followers of Jesus Christ (both male and female), nowhere in the Bible does a mortal human hold an official position of “Priest” in the early Church. The writer of Hebrews explains that the Priesthood under the Jewish Aaronic system was transformed to the Melchizedek arrangement when Jesus Christ became the only high priest mediating for the Christian Church (Hebrews 4:15, 7:12). Thus, there is no need for special “Priests” to serve in the Church of God today. Hebrews 7:11-12, 24-25 explains:

“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law… But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them”

6. Deacons were not 12 year old boys in the early church. Mormonism bestows the office of “Deacon” on twelve-year old boys, but in the early church we read that those who held the office of “Deacon” were grown men who were the husbands of one wife (1 Timothy 3:12). Thus, the Mormon Church’s office of “Deacon” does not follow the biblical pattern.
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